After watching the classic film, “Alice doesn’t live here Anymore” a few months ago, I was inspired to rewatch its TV show spinoff, “Alice.” It is great classic television. The writing can be witty and it has a wonderful cast that make the show very watchable.
The great thing about a rewatch is rediscovering moments that you had forgotten about. Some are just little jokes, but others are cultural touchstones. References to things that were defining the era of the show.
“Alice” made plenty of these references. Its spanned two decades and the show did its best to keep up with the changing times tonally. Which is remarkable for a show that started in a decade that was so different from the next one.
My favorite 80s moment of “Alice” is when breakdancing makes an appearance in the season 9 episode, “Footloose Mel.”
In this episode Mel runs afoul of some misunderstood dancers. Of course, it all works out in the ends, and the dancers, led by the great Fred Berry, do a dance routine in the diner.
This was broadcast in 1984. The breakdancing craze was firmly in place in many places, including my hometown, so it was really great to see it on a show like “Alice.” It made it appear more mainstream and made my plea for parachute pants and spiked armbands less of an odd request to my Mother and Grandmother.
If it was on “Alice”, it couldn’t be that weird.
The dancing is great, but it gets even better as we roll into the credits and the rest of cast gets in on the act. It is a satisfying moment of pop culture cross-pollination. I have since rewatched this scene alone a dozen times and have yet to tire of it. Mel dancing is almost hypnotic.
If you ask me, Vic Tayback might have missed his calling.